Dealing with troublemaking patients and/or family members

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    Most of the patients I've had were great but every so often I get a "troublemaking" patient. I have had patients lie about not getting enough pain medication, that I talked to them in a disrespectful way (this is usually done when they try to manipulate me into doing something against policy and inform that it is) and that I am not a good nurse (I have a wealth experience, skillset and continuing education). Sometimes I have family members make up lies such as I did not answer the call light fast enough or that I was not accommodating (they want me to bring them cups of water, ice, juices and snacks which is strictly against policy). Even though I will use a staff member as a witness (if possible) and inform a supervisor or nurse manager, I find that their are times I am lectured when I have done nothing wrong. Even though this is not the worst issue to deal with, I still feel vulnerable to the possibility of losing my job and it can be quite stressful. Has anybody gone through this? If so, how did you deal with it?

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  2. 2 Comments...

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    I totally understand this situation. I had a job, as a school site nurse at an elementary school, where I had to completely walk way from the job to save my license. The principal had no clue as to my duties, and when I had to take a 6yr old's Epipen away from him (his mother put it into his back pack and told no one he had a serious peanut allergy, but this is considered a "potentially injurious object in the public school system when no paperwork has been completed to justify the medication), the parent got upset and claimed I was nasty to her. I wasn't. I had called her, when the teacher discovered the item, and explained school policies and rationales. If any parent complained about a teacher or other staff member, the principal wrote them up. We had no support from this administrator and this one only of many situations I had to deal with. I made a plan. I kept up skills whenever I could afford the money and time so I could stay marketable. I kept advocating to co-workers we needed to establish a system of support. I stayed in contact with a union rep. I documented any, and I mean any, event I felt might later come back to haunt me. I tried always to have a witness present with this administrator or any event I thought might turn bad. I researched my employee's rights handbook. I spoke softly and upbeat always to everyone, especially the complainers. It is true, that even when we do all we can, we may still have to walk away. But I walked away with my license unharmed. As a final note, when I left, I contacted my state's licensing board and notified them of my concerns. They were very supportive and informative. They also confirmed my license was in good standing. Good luck in your situation and know that because we deal with the public, most nurses face this problem.
    Last edit by cowsmoo2 on Mar 2, '13 : Reason: missing words
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    Quote from cowsmoo2
    I totally understand this situation. I had a job, as a school site nurse at an elementary school, where I had to completely walk way from the job to save my license. The principal had no clue as to my duties, and when I had to take a 6yr old's Epipen away from him (his mother put it into his back pack and told no one he had a serious peanut allergy, but this is considered a "potentially injurious object in the public school system when no paperwork has been completed to justify the medication), the parent got upset and claimed I was nasty to her. I wasn't. I had called her, when the teacher discovered the item, and explained school policies and rationales. If any parent complained about a teacher or other staff member, the principal wrote them up. We had no support from this administrator and this one only of many situations I had to deal with. I made a plan. I kept up skills whenever I could afford the money and time so I could stay marketable. I kept advocating to co-workers we needed to establish a system of support. I stayed in contact with a union rep. I documented any, and I mean any, event I felt might later come back to haunt me. I tried always to have a witness present with this administrator or any event I thought might turn bad. I researched my employee's rights handbook. I spoke softly and upbeat always to everyone, especially the complainers. It is true, that even when we do all we can, we may still have to walk away. But I walked away with my license unharmed. As a final note, when I left, I contacted my state's licensing board and notified them of my concerns. They were very supportive and informative. They also confirmed my license was in good standing. Good luck in your situation and know that because we deal with the public, most nurses face this problem.
    Thanks so much for sharing your story. It is just crazy how nurses go beyond the call of duty to get their patients what they need and also to appease the family members only to get stabbed in the front, side and back at the end of it all. I am not one to pull the prejudice card BUT I can't help but to wonder if it was a contributing factor with the issues I experienced with these situations. (shrugs) It is what it is. I will definetly take your advice into consideration. I know it will definetly save me in the long run.
    Last edit by jrsRN07 on Mar 2, '13 : Reason: missed words


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